That friend behind the scenes

Beth DiCarlo, our event designer, snagged this photo while Lauren and I were huddling behind the stage at our last girls night out and it’s one of my favorite event photos EVER.  It’s my favorite because when I look at it, it tells a vivid story that not many people get a chance to hear.

So I thought today, I’d share it with you.

The concept of the HeartStories GNO began with some intense soul-searching on my part.  I was three years into my journey of entrepreneurship seeking to serve women who’ve lost themselves in little pieces along the way, staying so busy taking care of everyone else that they rarely make time for themselves.  I so desperately wanted to encourage women to do the things they felt called to do and inspire the joy they crave, but my level of business savvy didn’t match up with my level of passion for the cause.  I either needed to throw in the towel or create a new way forward.

That’s when the concept for the Girls Night Out was born.

I went back to the basics.  What do I enjoy?  What am I good at doing?  What do I want my life to look like? Where does that intersect with serving this woman I seek to serve? The answers to those questions could pretty much be summed up with: having fun, connecting people, creating experiences, throwing parties, and then, having a little bit more fun.  The intersection of all of that seemed so obvious, I was pinching myself.

I could host done-for-you experiences for busy women to reconnect, both with themselves and each other. 

It seemed perfect.  So I tried one.  It was a lot of work, but it turned out great and I convinced myself it would get easier with time.  That was more than three years ago, and we’ve hosted a Girls Night Out every single month since then.  In some ways, some things have gotten easier.  But in most ways, the more we grow, the more effort is required on every front.  Which leads me to the image above.

This is Lauren Seay. 

Almost one year ago, I hired Lauren to support me and HeartStories with ALL THE THINGS.  At the time, I had no idea what a blessing I was about to receive over the next year.  She was over-qualified for the job.  She already had a full-time job and was looking for more work to keep herself “challenged and busy”.  She lives over an hour away and I really thought that was going to be an issue for us, so much so that I almost didn’t interview her.  But Heather, who has worked with me from DC for nearly three years, convinced me to talk with Lauren, and I’ll forever owe her a debt of gratitude as a result.

The look on Lauren’s face in this picture is exactly her MO. 

No matter the challenge, no matter the chaos, no matter the crazy things people do, no matter how many things she has going on personally or professionally, Lauren is right beside me with an optimistic smile on her face saying, “Hey, if you’re going in, I’m going with you.”  And she does.  She’s watching my blind side.  She’s got my back, while she’s looking straight ahead.  She handles things I didn’t even know where “things” until it’s all over when she calmly explains how the ship nearly sank.

But everything is fine now.  

The night before event night, when I’m stressed out of my mind, and it seems the work will never be finished, she sends me hilarious memes that make me snort-laugh (while trying not to wake my family) until I have enough endorphins in my brain to keep going until the end.  On event day, she handles everything.  She preps me, leads me, she points out everything I need to know, and she’s always honest with me.  If something smells fishy, I can 1000% trust Lauren to tell me the truth and then offer brilliant suggestions on how to navigate through it.  She’s a planner and a risk-calculator, yet she’s visionary and generous.  She doesn’t get sucked in by the chaos and stress.   She stays above the fray, always focused on the big picture.

 Somehow it looks like I pull this whole thing off on my own, but the truth is Lauren is behind the scenes keeping everything on track. 

She’s smiling that ornery smile that’s one half: “Are you actually saying this right now?” and the other half: “This ought to be interesting, let’s do it! ” 

My point?

Everyone needs a friend like Lauren behind the scenes. Whether you run your own life, an entire family, a team, or a business of your own, you need someone who knows all your crazy, and cheers you on anyway.  You need someone who sees your blind spots and isn’t afraid to point them out to you.  You need someone who is in it for the long-haul, even when things seem sketchy.  Someone who will be honest with you, to your face, even when it would be easier to talk behind your back.  You need that friend behind the scenes.

You also need to BE that friend behind the scenes.  

Your friend needs to know you have her back, no matter what.

You know what it feels like to be let down when you needed support the most.  

Be the friend you needed then.

Be that friend, behind the scenes.  

to more love,

Crystal

P.S.  If you just read this and you’re scheming about how you’ll hire Lauren away from me . . . I see you, and I’ll hurt you.  #kidding #notkidding 

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